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The entire world saw it.

Quentin Beck, a Stark Technologies reject going by the lame-ass name “Mysterio,” exposing Peter Parker, a kid from Queens as Spider-Man. I didn’t believe it myself. And can you really trust anything J. Jonah Jameson says on his web-show?

To be honest, I’m not really sure where I stand on the issue of superheroes and The Avengers. My renter’s insurance premiums skyrocketed after the Battle of New York. I’m done getting in fights with idiots in the Facebook comments about the Sokovia Accords. And to top it all off, half of the world gets “blipped” just because a giant purple wrinkly-penis motherfucker with a God complex decides to snap his fingers…

…and the solution is bringing all of the people back without any infrastructure to support them. Not to mention, when The Avengers brought everyone back, I was in a movie theater, and two crying twin babies just appeared out of nowhere in my hands. My fellow patrons had the nerve to complain to management about me, and I got kicked out.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.

A few months later, Peter Parker is cleared of any wrongdoing courtesy of Matt Murdock, that blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen. I was sitting on the couch, minding my own business, when suddenly everything went dark. I heard a faint buzzing and felt like I was being pulled through time and space by my belly button. Flashes of green and purple light melded and mixed together, zooming by at the speed of light. I heard a symphony of sounds and voices and blurry images flashed by. Was this what having a stroke felt like? Was I dying? Was I going to throw up? Suddenly it all stopped, and that’s when I passed out.

I woke up on a familiar couch.

I had been here before. The vibrant color. The soft cushions. Even the pillow under my head felt strangely familiar. And that’s when I realized I wasn’t wearing any pants. I struggled to find a blanket, and that’s when my friend Andrew walked into the room, wet from the shower, a towel loosely slung around his waist. He looked good. Really good.

In fact, the last time I had seen him in this little clothing was after we fooled around after too much red wine while watching The Lost Boys on the very couch I found myself almost naked on. I started to stammer as I attempted to explain myself. This situation was utterly ridiculous. How could I even start to explain it?

“Hi there, friend. It appears I have traveled through space and time to land on your couch in my slutty underwear. I would leave because I’m utterly embarrassed, but I don’t have my car. I swear I’m not tripping. And do you have any pants I could borrow? And, by the way, is your husband upstairs because this will be really difficult to explain!”

Andrew looked at me, confused.

“Babe, are you ready yet?”

I managed to stutter out a “what?”

“Can you put some pants on?” He tapped his bare foot impatiently.

“Yes, oh my God. I’m so sorry. I could explain, but it wouldn’t make any sense. Do you have any sweatpants I could borrow?” I stood up and walked towards him, hoping to see something I could grab with which to cover myself. I could feel the blush burning up my cheeks.

When I was within a few feet of him, he grabbed me gently by the arm, turned me around, and gave me a gentle kiss on the lips. When he pulled away, “Hon, you seem tense. I was only kidding. I like you without pants. But I don’t think my parents would appreciate you showing up to the family barbecue in man panties. So go upstairs and get changed.”

Quietly and hesitatingly, concerned about what the response would be, I asked, “What about… Stephen?”

Andrew looked at me, a blank expression. “What ABOUT Stephen? What is wrong with you? Are you drunk? Did you drink too many pre-game mimosas while I was showering? Why are you even bringing him up? You know I haven’t spoken to him since we broke up at my 30th birthday party, where he acted like a sullen child the entire time and I had at least three separate people come up to me to say how mismatched we were and what a miserable person he was.”

You know that scene in the movie where time seems to stop and the protagonist suddenly notices very specific things they didn’t notice five minutes ago because they were panicking?

That was me. As Andrew busied himself in the kitchen (which was beautiful and modern by the way and everything I had ever wanted in a kitchen) by preparing a pasta salad, I took in my surroundings. The framed pictures of us hanging in the living room revealed that we had apparently gotten married in a beautiful ceremony on the beaches of Hawaii. I looked out the French doors into our backyard and discovered our backyard was actually a beach. And was that a HOT TUB?

“Be right down,” I exclaimed, clamoring up the stairs in a panic. I checked every single bedroom and let out a huge sigh of relief. We didn’t have children! THANK GOD!

Apparently, we didn’t have a dog either, but I suppose nothing is perfect. I took a quick look in the mirror. My body wasn’t perfect, but it definitely was a bit more toned in this reality. I had a shadow of a six pack.

I glanced down and pulled at my waistband. HELLO THERE! What a LARGELY unexpected development.

I quickly scrolled social media on my phone. Oh, gross… we had a shared couple Instagram account. But apparently we made significant money as influencers. We were verified with a blue check! We even had a TikTok. No OnlyFans from what I could tell, which was somewhat of a relief. But, with this body, if he ever suggested it…

I couldn’t believe it. I had entered the Multiverse.

So I did what anyone else would do… I ran with it.

That day, as we drove to his parents for the barbecue, I pulled the nostalgia card. I explained that I was feeling romantic and wanted to walk down memory lane, with a focus on all the best moments from our friendship turned courtship turned marriage. ON A BEACH ON HAWAII. I seriously wish I had been there. Although Andrew raised a skeptical eyebrow every now and then—and was potentially doubting my sanity—he humored me.

And so it went. I lived my life in this multiverse. Learning as I went along and explaining away any moments where I apparently forgot an important detail about our life together.

We didn’t have to work much. Even before the social media thing, Andrew reminded me, we both had made good financial decisions. A few years ago, we had apparently won a huge financial settlement from TGIFriday’s after discovering shards of glass in our respective Mucho Margarita and Mudslide. And we had coupons for free mozzarella sticks and Oreo Madness to last us three lifetimes.

We also didn’t wear pants much.

Most mornings we would wake up whenever we wanted, go for a run, drink our coffee on our porch, spend some time on the beach, read, and have lots of really good sex.

We’d end the day by ordering in or cooking dinner and drinking delicious wine or cocktails and then just cuddling under a blanket on the couch and streaming whatever horror movies we could find. Some nights, we would blast “The Bridge” on SiriusXM (our favorite station), and dance and sing at the top of our lungs, and wrap ourselves in each other, laughing and kissing with wine-tinged lips until we’d collapse to the floor in exhausted giggles.  Or we’d slow dance to Sara Bareielles’ “I Choose You” on repeat.  I had learned that it had been our wedding song. Then we’d have really good sex.

And we’d look into each others’ eyes and talk about how lucky we were to have found each other, and how the Universe had introduced us as friends but had made us much more. And he’d recount how our traditional “friend date” to see the new Scream had turned into a bit more when our hands absently touched when we both went for the popcorn and then we were holding hands and then we were making out when we waited to see if there was a post credits scene. And then we wound up at a dive bar, taking Flamin’ Dr Pepper shots and chugging beers and making out some more in the back seat of an Uber (poor Rashid) and passing out in each others’ arms in my bed and waking him up with fresh coffee and McGriddles and hash browns I had thought to get DoorDash’ed. Now here we were.

We’d get free stuff sent to us. We’d talk about how much we loved it on Instagram. We’d get paid. We’d travel across the country. We’d jet off to foreign lands. And we’d have more really good sex.

It was a good life!

But something was missing.

A few weeks in, I realized we were really only spending time with each other. Sure, we had family barbecues and parties on occasion, but we never had dinner parties with friends or met people out for drinks. I rarely got text messages, and when I did, it was mainly companies’ automated messages telling me our free swag was on its way and to be ready to rate and review it.

I wanted to text my best friends—Denise, Jenna, Kacie, Colleen. But I discovered quite quickly, in the early days of living in this universe, that I didn’t have their numbers saved or any unanswered text threads. Although we were social media famous, I didn’t have a Facebook account. And apparently none of my friends from my other life followed our Instagram or TikTok accounts.

So no matter how good the sex was, or how delicious the coffee was, or how amazing cocktails in the hot tub were, or how relaxing the days of just reading on the beach were, this small universe was all I had. Andrew and I rarely fought and we were completely comfortable doing things by ourselves at opposite ends of the house, but some days I just wanted to meet up with friends at a local pub and drink beers and order a giant pretzel and talk about life with other people.

But, there wasn’t any of that.

I finally got the courage to ask.

The Lost Boys was on in the background, we were sipping some Snoop Cali Red (the Andrew in this universe didn’t mind the cheap stuff), and I went for it.

“Babe, how come we don’t have any friends?”

Andrew looked at me curiously. “We have friends. I mean, look at our follower count. And a few months ago we met that cute couple in Turks and Caicos. They message us on occasion!”

“We really don’t though. I’ve been here for a month…” I slipped but corrected myself. “I mean… in the past month, we haven’t seen anyone else but your family.”

“We don’t need anyone else. We have each other.” He responded in a way that indicated this was case closed. He took a big gulp of wine and settled in to watch the movie.

As the end credits rolled, I took my wine glass and headed out to stand on the porch and watch the waves roll in. The sound soothed me, and the silence was something I never wanted to give up.

Deep in thought, I felt a hand on my back. Andrew.

“You know I love you, right? I didn’t really know happiness until I met you. And this… all this… it makes me happy.”

He kissed me. I could feel his smile through the kiss and taste the wine on his lips.

He whispered in my ear, “Are you happy?”

Yes. I suppose I was. All things considered.

And who knew if there would ever be another multiversal wormhole to suck me back into my other life. This is where the multiverse had put me. I apparently didn’t have much choice in the matter.

I grabbed his hand, pulled him inside, whispering “I choose you.”

And then we had really good sex.

Eric Mochnacz

A wizard of pop culture. A prince of snark. A delightful addition to any dinner party.

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